State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie has today announced the appointment of Mr Paul James as Chief Executive, Ministry for Culture and Heritage (MCH).

"I am very pleased to appoint Paul James to this important role that supports many of New Zealand's arts, media, heritage and sports organisations," said Mr Rennie.

Mr James is currently the Deputy Chief Executive, Policy, Regulatory and Ethnic Affairs with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA). Mr James previously held the position of Director of the Office of Treaty Settlements from 2006-2011.

"Paul is an experienced senior public servant and will bring strong skills to this role including extensive experience in strategic policy development, leading and managing change and working effectively with a diverse group of stakeholders," said Mr Rennie.

"Paul will be able to use his experience and contacts across different areas of government to make sure the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s work is well integrated and supports the ongoing focus on achieving results across agency boundaries," Mr Rennie.

At DIA Mr James was responsible for delivery of the government's 'Better Local Government' reform and at the Office of Treaty Settlements he oversaw a significant increase in the rate of settlements achieved.  He is skilled at collaborating and building relationships at a local level while taking a planned and structured approach to ensuring his agency achieves results.

Mr James held previous senior roles in the Ministry of Justice, as Policy Manager Family Law between 2002 and 2004, and General Manager Public Law between 2004 and 2006.  Mr James has also worked in policy roles in The Treasury, Accident Compensation Corporation, and Te Puni Kokiri.

Mr James has been appointed for a five year term from 3 August 2015.

Helen Wyn has been Acting Chief Executive of MCH since previous Chief Executive Lewis Holden took up the role of Deputy Commissioner, Auckland with the State Services Commission. Ms Wyn will remain as Acting Chief Executive until Mr James takes up his role.

"I would like to thank Helen for her effective leadership of the Ministry over this time," Mr Rennie said.

MCH advises government on cultural matters and provides advice on legislation, policy and sector development to the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, the Minister of Broadcasting and the Minister for Sport and Recreation.


A photo of Mr James is available, please email

Paul James held the role of Deputy Chief Executive Policy, Regulatory and Ethnic Affairs (PREA) since April 2011.

He lead PREA in its work to maximise the benefits of ethnic diversity for New Zealand, protect communities through regulating gambling, censorship, spam and anti-money laundering. He provided policy leadership across a wide range of issues including local government and many of the department's operational responsibilities such as civil defence.

Paul was formerly the Director of the Office of Treaty Settlements (OTS) in the Ministry of Justice, a role he held since 2006. Prior to that, Paul was General Manager, Public Law and earlier Policy Manager, Family Law. He has also worked in policy in The Treasury, ACC, OTS and Te Puni Kōkiri.

Media enquiries: Tim Ingleton, SSC Communications 04 495 6648

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